My interest in it was primarily as a coach on the lookout for ways to document and support the coaching journey with my clients, but also as something I could use myself. I'm just as in need of help to keep track of the many angles of running a business that sit on top of coaching and development. Like everyone else I also have my personal projects on the go, which includes a loft renovation at home and all its escalating spin-off projects'! (Pinterest, I love you)
So it's all the more important that my business is planned and can keep ticking over when life is turned upside down elsewhere. And since it's all new - everything is being done for the first time, there's not a system or set of habits in place yet. And here's where the Business Planner comes in.
I have to say when it arrived it completely outdid my expectations, it's a hefty size and absolutely bursting with ways to look at your business both day-to-day and over a longer term. I was surprised to find it's closer in size to a recipe book than a diary. It's bigger than A5, just a bit short of A4, and nearly an inch thick! If that's intimidating breathe easy - the planner is thoughtfully arranged so that you can think about it all a day at a time, with weekly, quarterly and an annual strategic review, just as you might expect a big business approach to be. You start your planner with a one page business plan which is supported by six prompts for you to consider and map. You then move on to a template of the business model canvas, another helpful business tool to help you think out all the elements of your business. It's great to see it appear here as it's a tool I use already to think out whether an idea has wings and prepare it for flight.
Like a good coach the planner then invites you to goal plan and create your vision, goals are set for the year and then in more manageable chunks. Its undated so you can start any time. Each day begins with a reflective question, space for your top three priorities and space to plan your day from 8am-8pm. There are quotes dotted around to cheer you on and inspire you and occasional blank pages with a faint and sweet geometric pattern for your notes.
What really impressed me was the weekly check-in, where each week you are invited to track the small things which will no doubt will add up to success over time. They include sales, new business connections and new customers. But the clever bit is a set of 6 coaching questions you're invited to reflect on each week, and every week they change, seriously every week! Both myself and my husband kept looking through it to see when they would repeat and I found none! What that means is that the lens you review your business through is always shifting. Most of us will have certain interests and preferences which mean we don't do that naturally so we'll likely put all our energy into some things and neglect others. Not so if you follow the steps in this planner, how much work must have gone in to this thing!
If you're curious, here's a helpful list of the planner features:
- Week-to-a-View Planner
- One Page Business Plan
- Business Vision Planner
- Comprehensive Goal Planning System
- Weekly, Quarterly and Yearly Check-Ins
- 90 Day Business Challenges
- Weekly Priority Planners
- Weekly Action Planners
- Inspirational Quotes
- Weekly and Quarterly Goal Planners
- Finance Manager and Budget Worksheets
I know, it's not cheap at £39.95 if you compare it to an ordinary journal, but in reality I think the best comparison is closer to a set of coaching sessions, since this will guide you through a year of running your business and prompt you to consider it from different perspectives. You could do that on your own or with a friend or coach to get the most out of it. This could easily become my business bible, and over many years I can imagine having fun seeing what changes and remembering all the lessons I'll inevitably learn. I'm even considering stocking them for the clients thinking of starting or already running an independent business. So please have a look here for yourself, it's such a practical and well thought out planner. I'm seriously tempted by their yoga journal too now!